In an Oct. 21 memo to two members of the Yale Corporation, Senior Fellow John Pepper ’60 proposed increasing President Richard Levin’s pension plan to provide him with roughly 75 percent of his annual salary each year after he retires. Pepper said his proposal was contingent on Levin remaining president until at least June 30, 2008.
In 2000, Levin received a total compensation package of $561,709, including a $423,750 salary. Under his current pension plan, Levin will receive approximately 47 percent of his presidential salary each year once he retires.
Pepper, CEO of the Procter & Gamble Company, said the benchmark year from which the proposed 75 percent would be calculated had not been decided.
The Corporation, Yale’s highest decision making body, determines Levin’s compensation package. Pepper said he had not yet proposed his plan for increasing Levin’s pension to the Corporation. As senior fellow, Pepper will head the Corporation’s Compensation Committee, which will meet later this academic year and will review Levin’s salary, pension and other compensation.
Pepper said he made the recommendation based on meetings with Yale General Counsel Dorothy Robinson and an outside consultant. He said 2008 was “not a scientifically drawn number,” and it does not suggest that Levin would step down after that date.
“It isn’t like there is a certain date when Rick has decided he wouldn’t be president or he would change,” Pepper said. “Right now, my attitude would be, the longer [Levin stays], the better.”
Levin declined to comment on his salary or pension.
“The one decision that the president doesn’t make is the decision about his own compensation — it’s really a matter for the Corporation,” he said.
Pepper said Levin’s leadership prompted him to reconsider Levin’s pension package.
He cited Levin’s long-term contributions to the University — including his work on early action, financial aid for international students, the academic review, and improving the city of New Haven — as reasons for increasing his pension.
The memo was intended to elicit feedback from fellow Corporation members Gerhard Casper LAW ’62 and Charles Ellis ’59, Pepper said.
Ellis declined to comment on Corporation matters. Casper could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
The Corporation decides Levin’s salary based on a self-evaluation Levin presents to the Corporation each year and the Corporation’s evaluation of Levin’s contribution to the University over the previous year and throughout his tenure, Pepper said. The Corporation uses information from an outside consultant, who provides information about what other universities pay their presidents, Pepper said.
Pepper said Levin’s salary is “performance-based, bench marked against other universities.”
The Corporation has not yet decided on Levin’s salary for next year, Pepper said.
Pepper said this year’s Compensation Committee will likely consist of himself, Len Baker, chairman of the Finance Committee, and Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the Investor Responsibility Committee.